Retro rings: Sonic CD hits iOS in perfect form

Run, don't walk, to get this rare time-traveling Sonic game: it's finally on the iPhone.

Forgive my excitement, but Sonic CD just hit the iPhone--and it's only $1.99.

Sonic CD: a rare game emerges again. screenshot by Scott Stein

Sega has done some questionable things--to say the least--with the Sonic franchise, but Sonic CD isn't one of them. Sonic CD, despite the misleading title, isn't a soundtrack or a music game. It's one of the biggest, and best, side-scrolling old-school Sonic games ever made, but it was only available for the short-lived Sega CD, a CD-ROM add-on for the Sega Genesis (it also saw brief life in a 2005 Sonic compilation game for the GameCube and PS2). I actually owned a Sega CD, and Sonic CD was its best game by far--though technically that wasn't saying much.

The levels may look similar, but they're completely different from other Sonic games. screenshot/Scott Stein

Besides the requisite high-speed neon-colored racetrack levels, Sonic CD has another neat trick up its sleeve: trigger certain waypoints and, with sufficient speed, Sonic will travel back and forth in time to alternate sets of past and future versions of levels. A "bad" and "good" future await depending on whether you've accomplished certain tasks.

Sonic CD's translation to iOS is perfect: the touch controls are, as always, not as perfect as physical buttons, but the minimal one-button mechanic of classic Sonic games is a perfect fit. The speed and the sheer amount of levels--not to mention the higher-than-normal level of difficulty of Sonic CD--make this a perfect holiday iPhone/iPad game to discover (yes it's a universal app). Right now, it's priced at $1.99. I'd rank this higher than Sonic Generations or last year's Sonic 4 for anyone looking for a Sonic fix.

screenshot by Scott Stein

Did I mention the Saturday morning-style Sonic cartoon cutscenes? After all, this was originally a CD-ROM game.

Sonic CD will be available today on the App Store.

Featured Video

We pummel the powder in Nissan's Winter Warrior concepts

Equipped with suspension lifts and actual tracks, these concepts are meant to reach places that no ordinary vehicle can.

by Jon Wong